Sunday, March 16, 2008

MMM follow-up

Well, it was not a good week for finding something positive to say to everyone all the time. In fact, I pretty much failed at it. I tried. No, really, I did.

We had a situation. Our 8-bed unit was full, ICU was full, and between us, we were 3 people short. My little orientee, now on her own, but still on my schedule for assistance, was struggling to handle her assignment. She had a patient who really should have been in ICU, but they, as mentioned before, had no beds. I was so busy with my patients, I couldn’t do more than shoot off advice as we passed in the med room. In addition, the phone was ringing off the desk, call lights were going off in 3 rooms at once, and there was no one to help.

A man appeared before me. A very irate man. A very irate man whose mother had called for Morphine 30 minutes after taking another narcotic, and hadn’t gotten it. A nurse had tripped over her IV earlier in the day and half the day was spent in X-Ray trying to replace it, and the nurse hadn’t even apologized. There wasn’t even ICE WATER in her pitcher to comfort her, for God’s sake! She was one of us (a CNA from a physician's office), but he knew there were priority patients. He was going to take this up with Someone In Charge in the morning.

I listened with what I hoped was a caring look on my face. I apologized for the day nurse’s clumsiness. I informed him Debbie had asked me about the morphine and I had advised her to wait and reassess his mom to insure she did not get over-sedated. I would have Debbie reassess her now. I promised to go fetch the ice water right away, even though I was holding the pain pills for my post-op patient in my hot little hand. And ALL of our patients are our priority. But when he spouted off that “this was supposed to be a special care unit, For Crying Out Loud!” I forgot my resolution.

“Sir, look around you,” I told him as I waved my hand around the unit. “Do you SEE anyone else here? No? That's because there are only the two of us, running our butts off, and we are doing the best we can. I’m sorry that’s not good enough for you.” He walked off without another word. So did I.

In retrospect, I still can’t think of anything positive to say to that man. He made Debbie cry.


MightyMom said...

well, I think what you said was positive. Positive, and truthful.

What you could have said and didn't (which wouldn't classify as positive) would be Here's how to find the damn ice/water dispenser and so long as she's breathing and not bleeding all over the floor, TAKE A NUMBER......(feel free to add cuss words ad lib)

OH and I would have invited him to go ahead and call Someone in Charge right that min and given him the night super's phone #....then maybe you'd have gotten more help.

2 nurses (1 a trainee) for 8 CCU beds is UNBELIEVABLE!!!

poor Debbie, I've been there and it sucks. Give her a hug from me. Tell her she IS a good nurse, but he ISN'T a good paient and that ISN'T a good situation. :(

MightyMom said...

and when did this happen?? I thought you were on VACATION!!

Anonymous said...

Well, hopefully this will brighten your day: YOU WON!

AND you won because of the kindness of the first winner, Mommy Brain. She said she had already won a prize from another blog and wanted someone else to win something too!

Could you come on over to Pragmatic Compendium and email me your mailing address so I can send you your copy of the book The Kite Runner?

Mommy Brain said...

Glad you're excited about the book. It sounds like you could use the pick me up after a tough day like that!

I enjoyed reading your comment on my baby names post. Too funny how you "earned" the right to name your daughter and ended up using your husband's pick anyway.

Alycia said...

Well just think of what your comments could have been if you weren't trying to be positive... there is only so much a human can do and you sure were trying. Sending you a cyber hug!